Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Primeval - I love this show. We've just finished the first series, looking forward to the next. Love it. Totally love it.
  • Heroes: "Dual" - President Worf was probably the best part of the episode.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "The Hand of God" - Chancing the whole race on the roll of the dice. I really like this show, looking forward to finishing the first season soon.

This week's movie was And The Band Played On, about the discovery of the AIDS epidemic. This movie is at times disjointed, annoying, and frustrating. But then, so were those times. It manages to capture the feel of those years. I continually found myself saying, "I remember that!" as we watched it. It didn't quite manage to make me cry, but I came close a couple of times. Not a movie for a fun night, nevertheless a good movie worth seeing.

My library book this week was Dragonheart by Todd McCaffrey. Let me start by saying I started reading Pern as a teenager, and there will always be a special place in my heart for the original books, particularly the Harper Hall trilogy. But somebody please get Todd a really good editor. Each of his books read like a rough draft, needing a lot of work before going to print. This one is worse than the last, and the last was pretty darn bad. The first half of the book was awful, tracking all over the place, jumping to other characters and times without any transitions. In the second half either the writing improved or I was able to tolerate it better. In any case, his mother could write from the omnipresent narrator point of view and always made it absolutely clear which character she was following. Todd does not have that skill. This book also relies on serious knowledge of Pern. If you haven't read Todd's other books, DON'T BOTHER reading this one. He's constantly referring to events in his other books, so much so that I could hardly keep up, and I've read all of them. But the worst aspect of this book is that it clearly is building up to a conclusion, and then it just stops. Well short of the obvious conclusion. Well short of ANYTHING. If you aren't a hardcore Pern fan, avoid this book. Even if you are a hardcore Pern fan... get it from the library. You may not want a copy. The pathetic thing is, I'll probably read the next one. Addictions are hard to break.

Agatha Christie this week was The Tuesday Club Murders, also known as The Thirteen Problems, from 1932. This is a linked collection of thirteen short stories starring the wonderful Miss Marple. For the first few stories, several people at a dinner party form a club to discuss vexing mysteries. Each person presents a mystery to which they know the answer, and the others must attempt to solve it. To everyone's surprise, the little old lady who knits during the meetings is the one who solves every mystery. I was able to get a couple of these, but there was at least one that used language and knowledge that I couldn't have, so I didn't get that one. Overall, this is a charming and excellent little volume. If you want to get a sense of Christie's Marple without reading a full novel, this is the book to grab.